Sizing & Neutral Question?

Two questions hopefully you all can tell from the picture whats going on.

  1. Does that wiring size look correct for a 35 amp breaker?
  2. Why the white wire (Neutral?)

Cinn 003.jpg

Hard to tell from the picture. It should be a #8 wire.

The white wire is improperly identified. Is should have black tape on it.

The white wire did have black tap on about an inch down, I could not trace where the wire went due to crowding.

A) If this instalation predates 1999(?) then no identification was necessary. That’s not to say it’s not a good idea. Also, tape is not a legal identifier for such small wire. A permanent marker or paint is proper.
It is/was SOP to use “2-wire” for straight 240v circuits.

B) If this is feeding an air conditoner it is VERY likely that it is the correct size for that circuit.
You cannot simply say it is wrong without furhter investigation. You can call it out for evaluation, but IMO you should not automatically lable it as “wrong”.

Also, bear in mind. A white wire is absolutely NOT always a neutral.

Thanks guys–Much Appreciated…

Speedey, that is the AC breaker, max breaker recommended was a 35 amp breaker., I know a white wire isnt always a neutral, but why confuse us little people…


Agreed that black tape is not legal, but it is better than nothing. I would rather see that than nothing (and that is what most electricans use that I have seen).


If they didn’t try to confuse us, our job wouldnt be any fun.

I guess working with it has tainted me. I’d rather see nothing as opposed to tape. After a short while the tape dries up and leaves a black sticky mess.
I never assume anything but, seeing a two pole breaker with a black and white is nothing odd in my world. Especially in an older setting.

**© Circuits of 50 Volts or More. **The use of insulation
that is white or gray or that has three continuous white
stripes for other than a grounded conductor for circuits
of 50 volts or more shall be permitted only as in (1)
through (3).
(1) If part of a cable assembly and where the insulation is
permanently reidentified to indicate its use as an ungrounded
conductor, by painting or other effective
means at its termination, and at each location where the
conductor is visible and accessible.

I don’t have a problem arguing in court that TAPE is a " other effective means" as I can scrap off paint as well…so anything is removable.

My argument would be to cite other areas within the code for similar issues:

**[FONT=Times-Bold]size=2 Identification of Ungrounded Conductors. **Where
more than one nominal voltage system exists in a building,
each ungrounded conductor of a multiwire branch circuit,
where accessible, shall be identified by phase and system.
This means of identification shall be permitted to be by
separate color coding, marking tape, tagging, or other approved
means and shall be permanently posted at each
branch-circuit panelboard.

In this section they consider marking tape and consider it a permanently posted method…

lol…so I will fight the fight for Marking Tape…:slight_smile:

I know we are getting off on a tangent, but I like this “conversation”.

I’m going to counter you on this Paul.

In your first code quote, the words "permanently identified" are the key. With “permanent” being the kicker. I definitely consider paint as permanent as it is not easily removed. And a Sharpie marker is, well… a permanent marker.
I really doubt anyone can argue that tape is permanent.

Also, the second quote is IMO not applicable since it is expressly referring to “[FONT=Times-Roman][size=2][FONT=Verdana]more than one nominal voltage system exists in a building” [/FONT][/size][/FONT][FONT=Times-Roman][size=2][FONT=Verdana]and[/FONT][/size][/FONT][FONT=Times-Roman][size=2][FONT=Verdana] conductors of multi-wire circuits.
[FONT=Times-Roman][size=2][FONT=Verdana]Again, not really applicable to a residential setting, or even a commercial setting with only one voltage system (IE:120/208v), and is specific to multi-wire circuits.[/FONT][/size][/FONT][FONT=Times-Roman][size=2]

I disagree…lol…but thats why we are chatting on it…:slight_smile:

I would argue that with paint remover I could remove this from the conductor and in turn degrade the conductor…while tape would be considered -reidentifed in similar nature.

or other effective
means at its termination,
and at each location where the
conductor is visible and accessible

I call the “OR” other effective means…
I also would agrue with my attorney ( being funny here ) in that no testing has been done to prove that painting a conductor would not damage or degrade the condition of the conductor based on the following statements.

**110.11 Deteriorating Agents. **Unless identified for use in
the operating environment, no conductors or equipment
shall be located in damp or wet locations; where exposed to
gases, fumes, vapors, liquids, or other agents that have a
deteriorating effect on the conductors or equipment; or
where exposed to excessive temperatures.
FPN No. 1: See 300.6 for protection against corrosion.
FPN No. 2: Some cleaning and lubricating compounds can
cause severe deterioration of many plastic materials used
for insulating and structural applications in equipment.

lol…Ok …lol…no funny comments about bringing that section up…building a case to say to the judge…see how the NEC makes statements that could allow my use of tape…lol

I will hold tight to this part…

I would say…the allowance of the NEC to re-identify conductors in the field as well would be a good basis for “Marking Tape” as a method of re-identification would be acceptacle in my view.

Ok…here is an area that would apply to dwellings that refer to re-identification

**(B) Sizes Larger Than 6 AWG.
**An insulated grounded
conductor larger than 6 AWG shall be identified by one of
the following means:
(1) By a continuous white or gray outer finish.
(2) By three continuous white stripes along its entire length
on other than green insulation.
(3) At the time of installation, by a distinctive white or
gray marking at its terminations. This marking shall
encircle the conductor or insulation.

  • Note- Should the amend to say “permanently”…?

There are alot of areas in the NEC that refers to permanently marking and it could be tags, signs and signage all of which can easliy be removed.

I hear ya brother…just dont fine the use of TAPE…a statement worth of being called Illegal…:slight_smile: Thats a STRONG word to use on a section of the NEC that seems to be broken up and in the end gives a possible opening for debate.

Here is a issue that brings up the same debate about " Physical Damage " and " Permanently marked " which the NEC does not define and leaving it open to the AHJ to determine. Leaving it a far CRY from being considered “Illegal” in my eyes…James Stallcups eyes, Mike Holt’s eyes and countless others because their TEXTbooks see tape as a viable option.

Gee I have been out of the trade for a few years but we frquently fed many in house services ( industry ) with single conductor core flex and aways identified the feeds with tape.
I have used plastic tape many times to change a white to back
I have pulled 200 or more red #14 for controls and always taped on number tags and they seem to last for ever .

Roy Cooke

I’m smarter…no I’m smarter…no I’m smarter.
Home inspectors are not specialists. What is the point of all this code talk. It must take you guys days to write a report after looking at the NEC, plumbing, HVAC, structural, and all the other code books and finally giving your client a report that is technically exhaustive.

dude it is not a smarter thing…we are simply debating ideas…why it someone always wants to make something more out of simple chatting and learning from each other…I value Peters opinion and I offer my opinion…

It is not a pi$$ing contest…this is a HI board but if two electricians want to engage in a conversation and debate why is it not allowed…have we not atleast earned that much to be allowed to learn from each other outselves?

We do not have to smarter then each other we are all happy and enjoying life to its fullest.
If you choose to not come and enjoy it too ,I am sorry for you .

Roy Cooke

This a PRIME example of telling someone NOT to put code in a report and they do anyway. Who on earth said all the things Roy, Peter, Myself and Greg talk about are for a report?

Maybe we are just chatting and enjoying the board…why not take away from the chat what you find important and if you find none of it important to educate yourself then thats fine also.

My goal here is to educate…and ongoing debates, conversations and ideas in the end educate people…not everything someone puts on a board is for a report…come on now…are we not educated adults here and know what should go on a report or what should not and when chatting or education is simply that.

Simply amazing…been saying this for 2 years now and still have people who simply do not understand the intent of my posts…alas…maybe it is futile…

Also if you are saying I can’t have a chat or debate with someone whom I respect dearly in an efford to hear all sides…that all of us that volunteer simply can’t post our own information, personal experiences and ingaging debates because the BOARD is for HI’s only…so lets just water down the world shall we…if that is the case…I am OUT of here as I would have no desire to come here…this is not a one way street you know…

Steven, if you look at my post #4 you’ll see I recommend not calling it out merely on hearsay. Nothing about code numbers, just that what is shown in the pic is most likely perfectly legal.

I also did admit we are getting off on a bit of a tangent but the banter is good for knowledge. You all do not need to be code wizards but you need to have a very good clue about what you are looking at.

If I was called in to check a situation where in a report on an older house a H-I called out a “Neutral wire on a circuit breaker” I would probably just chuckle and shake my head.
This is not a slam but constructive criticism. Understand?

The important code consideration is the size of the wire. Petey put his finger on it. This is most likely for the HVAC condenser singe it is a non-standard size. You would have to read the label on the unit to see if it is right. For 35sa max breaker size 10 or even 12 might be fine if the minimum circuit ampacity is 25a or less.